#B4MH May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Bloggers for Mental Health Awareness

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On December 27, 2016 my father died by his own hand. There is no doubt in my mind he suffered from mental illness. But, because of the stigma that clouds the minds of so many even today, he feared seeking help for this illness because he worried what other people would think of him. He was a very proud man, and he couldn’t cope with the idea that folks would “talk” if they learned he went to a mental health professional to get help.

I don’t talk much publicly about the sadness that plagued me before I left home. I rarely discuss how terrified I was of my father, or that I feared from the age of 9 he would take his own life. And, even writing this post, I know there are some people that will be annoyed, bothered, and/or possibly pissed off at me for writing about this. I can’t care about that anymore though. Why? Because the stigma associated with mental health and discussing mental health issues is BULLSHIT! And, by speaking up, perhaps things can change.

If my father had not been so damn afraid of how people would view him, I think he could have relinquished his pride just enough to seek help. I think my life and the lives of my other family members could have been better, more peaceful. And yes, I think he might be alive today.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255

Available 24 hours everyday

There Is No Shame In Seeking Help

I am in therapy. I see a therapist once a week, and I have since January of this year. Before my father’s death, I saw one online because I just needed an unbiased person to listen to me, and help me cope with issues I was dealing with. I’m not ashamed of this. I understand the importance of working through my crap so that I don’t go down the deep dark path of depression that ultimately lead to my father killing himself.

Please know that NO – I do not have suicidal ideation, but I did have a dark period where I thought about it. No, I do NOT condone what my father did, but as much as it hurts me, I understand it. I can see how a person can go down the rabbit hole of sadness, and get down so deep that they can’t see the light anymore. I can actually understand how easy it might have been to go to such a dark place that you feel the only way out is death.

And, that’s why I want to shout from the rooftops that the second you feel yourself going into a place of despair -CALL SOMEONE! GET HELP! YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO FACE PAIN ALONE!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255

Available 24 hours everyday

You may be wondering, why speak up now? Because I didn’t have the courage to before. I too was wrapped up in the fear of what others would say. My dad’s death jolted me, and made me see so clearly how different things could have been. I wish I could go back and tell him I was seeing a therapist, and that I was working with people that were helping me so that maybe he would feel he had permission to as well.

I wish I hadn’t bought into the stigma of working with mental health professionals meaning you were crazy when I was a child. Looking back I can see several moments where I could have stood up and said something if I hadn’t been so scared. But, I can’t go back. What’s done is done.

I couldn’t save my father’s life. Perhaps in all honesty, even if I HAD spoken up,  I never could have saved his life. But either way, now that my mouth is open, I’ll never stop myself from saying this again – If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental illness, even if you just suspect it – INTERVENE! DO SOMETHING! SAY SOMETHING! GET HELP!

Resources for Mental Health Assistance

Here in Tampa, if you are in crisis, you can call 2-1-1 to be directly connected to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.  If you’re outside of Tampa Bay, 2-1-1 will still connect you to someone local who can help. As per United Way’s website “2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need.” You can also check out MentalHealth.gov as a starting point for additional or other help.

Above is the last family photo of me, my sister, my mom and my dad as far as I know. This was their 30th wedding anniversary. I threw a surprise party for them. What people don’t see in the photo is that there was a lot of sadness, anger and heartbreak behind the smiles in this image. In fact, most people have no idea when others are in pain.

We put on brave faces and go into the world harboring our pain, suffering in silence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We all deserve to be happy. We all deserve to have help for our mental struggles. We don’t have to face the sadness alone. Again, I implore you – If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental illness, even if you just suspect it – INTERVENE! DO SOMETHING! SAY SOMETHING! GET HELP!

This post was written as part of Bloggers for Mental Health Awareness. Brittany from Clumps of Mascara got a bunch of us bloggers together and inspired us to take a stand and help normalize mental health concerns, illnesses, and discussion.

Please, please, pleeeeease keep spreading the word. Share this post with the hashtags #BloggersForMentalHealth or #B4MH to help spread the message anywhere and everywhere across the net. By speaking up and making it “okay” to talk about, perhaps we can save lives, and make countless others a little easier.

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18 thoughts on “#B4MH May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Bloggers for Mental Health Awareness

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I am glad that you are making a post like this. It helps people know they are not alone in that on it’s own helps.

  2. I am so sorry to hear that. I live in the Tampa area as well and I hear too often of suicide in this area. There is no shame in seeking help if you need it!

  3. Wow I’m so sorry to hear this! Being able to share your story and help others is so important – I applaud you for doing so!

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I know your pain since our family also lost someone to a mental disease. Thank you for posting your story. If more did, then more will understand.

  5. Thank you for speaking out about mental health – and I’m so sorry for your loss. We all know someone or suffer from a mental disorder ourselves, so it is important to speak up.

  6. I wish more people would realize that there is no shame in asking for help. It is no different than going to the doctor for the flu. Our minds get sick just as our bodies do and they need help sometimes.

  7. I applaud on your bravery to share the story. I’m sorry for the loss. It’s great to share awareness on the topic of suicide. More people need to know that there’s help out there and they’re not alone.

  8. Thank you for sharing such an important message. My father also committed suicide and in fact, came from a long family history of it. If anything, it has shown me how important mental health awareness is and that it needs to be discussed more openly. I have seen how depression and addiction has ravaged my family, and I am determined to be an advocate for mental health within my family regardless of how much they fight against it. We have to remove the stigma so people can get the help they need.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. It is not easy to deal with mental illness because of the stigma associated with it. I wish people would not be judgmental of others. They may not have idea of how it is to live with depression. I am happy that there is a hotline where you can get help.

  10. Thank you for posting this article! it’s very interesting topic and is really worth to share with the family!

  11. A lot of people would shy away from the topic of mental health but for me it’s important to spread the message. It’s really going to help a lot of people who are going through it right now.

  12. Great reminder here!!!! It’s so important to take care of our sleves mentally!!! I hate that people often pass mental health off to the side. It’s a serious issue

  13. Mental health should be discussed daily and acknowledged. People should not be shamed for what the can’t control. Thank you for sharing this information.

  14. This is something that a lot of people do not talk about. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your father.

  15. the brave and bold side of you is very strong , i admire your courage to write this, alot learnt now and sorry bout your dad..

  16. Sorry to hear about this. So brave of you to share your dad’s story. Hope that with this post, more and more people will offer help to those suffering mental illness.

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